Why is it that you go to therapy to make yourself feel better, you spend an hour talking about horrible crappy things, and then you leave feeling worse?  If I want to feel bad about myself, I could just look at myself naked in a mirror, jump up and down a few times and pocket the $100 bucks.

But then I come home and there’s dinner, thanks to this ingenious new dinner-making methodology. I’ve tried it a couple of times now and I can’t really find a fault, especially on nights where you don’t get home from work and your weekly rehash-your-childhood-traumas session until a quarter to nine.

I highly suggest that you obtain a spouse or partner so you too can begin to take advantage of it.  In this method, which I dub the “Aw, Yeah” method, you:

  • Decide what you want to have for dinner
  • Send your spouse/partner a shopping list and detailed written instructions
  • Come home when dinner is ready
  • Eat
  • Take a nap

It’s really a win-win, wherein you win and then you win again, because you still feel responsible for the meal since you conceptualized it, but you get to enjoy it without having done the actual work.

You can make your partner feel as though s/he has won as well if you employ the classic Tom Sawyer/fence whitewashing manipulation strategy.  Cooking is really ideal with the 1-2 punch of “Aw, Yeah” and “Tom Sawyer.” If I could train one of the dogs to use the camera and the other to write the posts, this whole blog would become self sustaining, like a perpetual motion machine.

For tonight, I went with a mojo-inflected white chicken chili. I know last week was also kinda Mexican, but I’ve been feeling anything made with chiles and cilantro lately.  White beans, corn, chicken, serranos and hatch green chiles, cumin, oregano, an ass-ton of garlic, adobo and some OJ.  Easy, quick and, I hoped, tasty.  I’ve never actually had white chili, but I had a flavor image in my head I wanted it to match.

I’m usually pretty good at making that happen, except for when I’m really really* not, so I was pretty confident in my concept and instructions. (Of course, I issued them before I went to therapy.)

*My very first month of blogging!  So cute, so young, such an awful blogger.

I issued the following instructions, which are the same I will now issue to you.  As you can see, I make sure to go into a high level of detail to ensure the final product will meet my high standards.

  1. Dice 1 small onion, mince lots of garlic and serranos (a couple, 3-4). Saute in olive oil.
  2. Add cumin (1 tsp?) and Mexican oregano (1/2 tsp?).  Sauté for another minute or two.
  3. Drain corn and beans. Cube chicken (bite size pieces).
  4. Add corn, beans, a little stock and some OJ (not enough to make it soupy), some of the canned green chiles in the fridge, and some adobo (1 tsp?) and cayenne (1/4 tsp?). Stir around.
  5. Mash it to break up some of the beans and thicken it up (if it ends up too thick, thin out with a little more stock). Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Add chicken cubes. Poach until chicken is done. Toss in another 2 cloves of minced garlic a minute or so before serving.
  7. Check seasoning again.
  8. Serve with cilantro, sour cream, cotija and that green salsa in the jar.

We had everything but the beans, corn and cilantro in the house, so it was perfect for a pair of tight asses with lots of leftover Mexican ingredients from last week.

As it turns out I issue excellent instructions, because this was delicious.  It’s summertime chili, if such a thing makes any sense.  The green chiles have a kind of bright heat unlike the heavier flavor of red chiles (although cayenne brings a nice punch).  The corn added sweetness and crunch; the OJ some additional sweetness and welcome acid.  Mashed white beans are a great way to thicken things up quickly without needing a heavy thickener or having to cook things down for a million years, so you can make this from beginning to end in about half an hour.

Poaching the chicken right in the chili infuses it with some flavor and keeps it tender and moist.  Topping it with some sour cream adds a little fat that balances well with the brightness (avocado would be nice if you weren’t leftover-dependent), cotija adds salt and the cilantro adds a final fresh pop. Plus: garlic. Lots and lots of garlic.

Man, all this eating just wipes me out.

ONE YEAR AGO:  Cheap Ass Monday: Down by the Boardwalk

White Chicken Mojo Chili
Instructions are as written above; I could re-write them all fancy-like, but it would boil down to the same thing. We did futz with quantities a little, so final quantities are:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 15 oz. can Great Northern beans
1 15 oz. can corn
1 small onion
6-8 cloves of garlic
3-4 good size serranos
1/2 can minced green chiles
3/4 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. OJ
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
2 tsp. adobo seasoning
1/4 tsp. cayenne
salt and pepper

Optional Toppings: cotija or cheese of your choice, cilantro, sour cream, salsa of your choice, avocado, fresh limes

[tags]chile, chili, chicken, stew, corn, recipe, mexican, food, cuisine[/tags]